Former Newman University employee Juanita Alarcorn died Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.
Alarcon ended her 14-year stint at Newman University as the administrative assistant for the School of Education. Alarcon was a dedicated and caring employee.
Her former coworkers reflected on her time at Newman and the positive relationships she forged with anyone and everyone who walked through her door.
Steve Dunn, who retired from Newman after 16 years of service, was named the director and associate dean of the School of Education in 2007-08 and was in need of a new administrative assistant. Alarcon was ready to take a step up in her career and moved from administrative assistant for the graduate program into the role for the School of Education.
Dunn recalled her kind spirit and incredible work ethic. “Juanita was an asset to the school. She was relentless, making sure all of her t’s were crossed and i’s were dotted,” he said.
Throughout her time at Newman, she not only worked directly with Dunn and other professors to aid with anything they needed, but she also managed data, Excel, pivot tables, reporting and worked with the outreach locations to gather data and aid with their needs.
Alarcon was taking on so much work that upon her departure, the position was split into two, one that focused on data collection and one that works primarily as an administrative assistant.
Among Alarcon’s named attributes were creativity, professionalism, thoughtfulness and her friendly demeanor. “She was the face of the department and she was a warm and welcoming person,” said Dunn. “The student workers loved her — it seemed like there was always a student in to see her and even have her help them on some project or answer questions.”
Alarcon went above and beyond for those around her. For many years, she served as the co-chair of the Staff Assembly Silent Auction, which raises money for Newman staff and a chosen charity. She even donated her personal time and talent one year by sewing a Newman T-shirt quilt for the auction.
“She was willing to give her time and treasure,” said Dunn.
Alarcon was also involved with Circles, now known as Thrive! Delano — a program the Adorers of the Blood of Christ are highly involved in, Eagle Scout projects and she volunteered at Newman University’s annual High Tea among others.
Her dedication to the job was obvious, taking on extra projects and never sacrificing the meticulousness of her work.
Karen Noel, administrative assistant for the School of Social Work and Division of Social Sciences, saw firsthand her kindness and excellence in her position at Newman. Noel was trained by Alarcon when she was hired at Newman.
“I had worked in Academic Affairs prior to moving to graduate education but the jobs were completely different,” said Noel. “When I became the administrative assistant for the School of Graduate Education, she taught me everything I needed to know. I had a million questions and she was always so patient with me. We used to joke that I was going to wear a path in the floor between my office and hers because I was back and forth with so many questions.
“She was so kind and generous and always willing to help. It didn’t matter whether she knew someone well or not, she was willing to help if they needed help. She was just such a kind and giving person.”
Outside of Newman, Alarcon was a devoted grandmother who helped raise her grandson, no questions asked. She will be missed by many.